YOUR FESTIVAL GUIDES & PRESENTERS
Dr Tonia Cochran
Inala Nature Tours is a Bruny Island based tour company and travel agency that specialises in designing wildlife tours around Australia. Many of their clients are birdwatchers, so Inala guides need to have specialist birdwatching knowledge and skills. All of Inala’s Tasmanian guides are local Bruny Islanders or people with a long association with Bruny Island and a detailed knowledge of where to find birds here. And they are also all jolly nice people! So we are confident that you will be in capable but friendly hands. Dr. Tonia Cochran is the Managing Director, owner and main travel consultant and guide for Inala Nature Tours. She has been a resident of Bruny Island for 25 years and has specifically designed a range of tours for the Bruny Bird Festival which will showcase Bruny’s amazing birds. Opportunities for viewing seabirds, shorebirds, waterbirds and bush birds as well as a good chance of seeing several threatened bird species are all covered in the range of tours that are on offer. Some of these tours, such as a birding tour around Tonia’s 1,500 acre private wildlife sanctuary “Inala” are rarely offered. Tonia has a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Melbourne and has been guiding and designing wildlife and birding tours for the past 20 years. Before that she was a Marine Biologist with the Australian Antarctic Division and participated in 7 research voyages to sub Antarctica and the Antarctic continent. She lives at “Inala” but spends a lot of time away leading tours around Australia, speaking at Ecotourism and Birding conferences around the world and getting involved with wildlife documentaries. In her spare time she is also heavily involved with threatened species conservation and is part of the National Recovery team for the Forty-spotted Pardalote and Eagle (Wedge-tailed and White-bellied Sea Eagle) programs. She will be personally leading some of the tours on offer, and generally available throughout the weekend to answer questions and have a chat.
We invite you to join the tours on offer and meet our team. All levels of birding skills are welcome and we will make sure that you really enjoy your tour AND see some great birds and learn heaps! We look forward to seeing you there!
See the Inala website for biographies on each of the Inala guides www.inalanaturetours.com.au
Dr Eric Woehler - BirdLife Tasmania
Dr Eric Woehler has been researching seabirds and shorebirds for more than 35 years, with more than 100 peer-reviewed papers. His primary research effort has been on Southern Ocean seabirds, both at-sea and at their colonies, and he has also collected and collated an extensive data set on Tasmania's resident shorebirds. Eric has spent more than a year at sea undertaking seabird identification and surveys. For more than 15 years, he has undertaken surveys of beaches around Tasmania, mapping more than 5000 shorebird nests and breeding territories, and surveyed small tern colonies. Recently, these surveys have extended onto the smaller islands around Tasmania, in conjunction with the Parks & Wildlife Service, conducting seabird and shorebird surveys. His talk will provide an overview of BirdLife Tasmania’s research on Little Penguins in Tasmania and the surveys and monitoring undertaken on Bruny Island. This research has included mapping of the colony at the Neck, where the State Government is looking to seal the road. Eric will also be one of the two guides for the seabird cruise. www.birdlife.org.au/locations/birdlife-tasmania
Bob Graham - BIEN
Bob Graham is convenor of BIEN and has worked in and enjoyed many different areas of Australia from tropical North Queensland to SW Tasmania. Growing up in North West Tasmania he thought that birds were either, sparrows, seagulls or crows. That changed in the '70s after a trip to the Coorong with dedicated 'Birdo' friends. Since then birds have become an integral part of both his every day and professional life. After purchasing Karingal (a bush block with dilapidated farmhouse) on Bruny in 1977, Bob says that "getting to know the birds, their habits and their ever changing behaviour from season to season and year to year in and around the 'block' has been one of the most rewarding exepriences of my life".
As a professional geographer and planner, the relationship of birds to where they live, how they survive and how they cope with environmental change has been an ongoing fascination for Bob. Working for over 40 years in diverse environments such as Lord Howe Island, North Queensland, SE Queensland, Cape York Peninsula, the Darwin Region, throughout Tasmania and on several national projects has allowed Bob to enjoy many different birding experiences. At the same an interest in birds and their relationships with the natural world have made Bob aware of the tenuous hold that many species have in a world which places more value on developing land for creating economic wealth rather than wise stewardship that respects and values birds and their habitats.
Since moving to Bruny to live full time in 2000, Bob continues to learn more about the local birds, their daily lives and how they respond to even minor changes in their environment. With his wife Marg, Bob has put a lot of effort into allowing the local bush on Karingal to re-establish itself and provide a safe haven for the many bird and animal species that share the land with them. Since getting together with a group of like minded people to establish BIEN, Bob has been involved in a number of activities that have helped to educate locals and visitors about birds and to celebrate and look after the wonderful bird life on the Island. Bob will be guiding the Beach to Bush walks. www.bien.org.au
Sarah Lloyd is a Tasmanian naturalist, writer and photographer with a life-long passion for birds. She is well known for her photographs and writings on just about any subject involving natural history – especially in her self-published books and the newsletter of the Central North Field Naturalists. Her latest publication The Feathered Tribes of Van Diemen’s Land describes the functions of bird songs and the role of sex in the spring dawn chorus, the practical and aesthetic importance of feathers and other intriguing aspects of birds’ lives seldom included in field guides.
In 2008 Sarah established 'A Sound Idea', a project to monitor bush and forest birds using digital sound recording devices. Over 90 willing participants from around the Tasmania made recordings from over 160 locations allowing Sarah to compile an aural record of habitats not previously surveyed for birds.
Since 2010 Sarah has been studying acellular slime moulds (myxomycetes) and has written a book for the non-specialist titled Where the Slime Mould creeps – the fascinating world of Myxomycetes.
For nearly 30 years Sarah and her partner, Ron Nagorcka (a composer who shares her interest in the natural world) have lived in a forest in Northern Tasmania where they have been able to pursue their natural history passions to their hearts’ content.Sarah & Ron will guide the Woodlands Walks and present a lecture in the speaker series.
Ron Nagorcka (Sarah Lloyd’s partner) is a composer with a considerable international reputation. Over the last two decades he has recorded and assembled a large library of Tasmanian and mainland bird calls. Many of these have featured in his music often in a much manipulated form.
Sarah and Ron spend many hours birding not only in Australia but anywhere in the world given the opportunity.
Nick Mooney is a wildlife biologist educated at the University of Tasmania then employed by Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service and its various permutations, for 33 years, more recently, after leaving government employ, being a volunteer. After hands-on, youthful involvement with raptors, Nick pioneered survey, risk assessment and management of Tasmanian raptors, travelling extensively (and privately) to get practical experience and presenting in local, national and international forums. He was a founding member of the Australasian Raptor Association. Conserving forest dependent species such as grey goshawks and nesting wedge-tailed eagles amongst logging was a focus as was dealing with peoples’ problems with raptors predating stock or pets; finding practical solutions to wildlife/people conflicts has been a forte.
Nick has monitored reports of Thylacines in Tasmania, actively searching, assessing possible evidence and advising private searchers. He has helped with responses to whale strandings and oil spills and developed road-kill mitigation, protection of coastal penguins, rehabilitation of orphaned Tasmanian devils and management of human/devil conflicts. Nick has put much effort into increasing community appreciation of wildlife and has used innovative rehabilitation (including using prisoners to rehabilitate eagles), management (trialling raptors as bird scarers in crops), and tourism (developing the devil restaurant concept) to this effect, skills augmented by guiding in Antarctica and local guide training.
Nick was key to starting the official responses to the Devil Facial Tumour Disease, donating his design of a new safe trap for devils to the program. Nick continues to help assess the potential ecological effects of a loss of devils to DFTD; he sees the possible consequent establishment of foxes as the biggest risk to Tasmania’s wildlife including devils.
Nick is an enthusiastic communicator with over 30 peer-refereed publications and literally hundreds of popular articles and media appearances to his credit and guest teaching stints at UTAS, in Indonesia and Ecuador. He is an active practitioner in helping others get established in his fields of interest.
His favourite bird is the brown falcon, our only raptor with an aboriginal ingredient in its Latin name.
Nick will be guiding and presenting at the festival.
Fiona is a sheep farmer, ecologist, environmental educator. She has worked in Antarctica on adelie penguins, Macquarie Island on albatross and giant petrel species, seals and penguins in Tasmania and Victoria, Tasmanian devils.
Fiona currently works seasonally on threatened birds such as the swift parrot and the forty spotted pardalote and has worked as a Discovery/ Education Ranger for Parks and Wildlife for 15 years. Currently Fiona is studying very part time for a Graduate diploma Ornithology at Charles Sturt University.
Fiona has been a generous supporter of the Bruny Island Bird Festival for many years and this year will be both presenting a lecture and guiding a daily walk.
Dr Andrew Hingston
Andrew has lived in Tasmania and been studying our birds all of his life. He bought his first pair of binoculars from a second-hand shop when he was 10 years old. Following this passion led him to a Bachelor of Science in Forest Ecology at the University of Tasmania. He then did an Honours degree investigating the invasion and impact of a feral bumblebee in Tasmania, and the ecology of Tasmania's native bees. Following this, he completed his Ph.D. on the bird and insect pollinators of Tasmanian Blue Gums which included studies into the now Critically Endangered swift parrot.
Andrew is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania, a position which has entailed supervising a student's Masters thesis on the importance of suburban trees as food sources for swift parrots, providing guest lectures to post-graduate students, and continuing his research into the impacts of feral bumblebees. That research prompted the Invasive Species Council Australia to award him the 2006 ‘Vigilance of Weeds and Ferals Award’. He also works periodically as a research assistant at the University of Tasmania, investigating such topics as pollinators of eucalypts and the potential for eucalypt plantations to inter-breed with native forest trees. He has previously worked as a botanist, mapping Tasmanian alpine vegetation. Along with his guiding work at Inala, most of his recent employment has involved running Forestry Tasmania's investigations into the responses of birds to timber harvesting in Tasmanian wet eucalypt forests.
Dr Hingston's peer-reviewed scientific articles include:
Hingston AB, Wotherspoon S (2017) Introduced social bees reduce nectar availability during the breeding season of the Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor). Pacific Conservation Biology 23, 52-62.
Hingston AB, Piech M (2011) Parrots, people and plants: urban tree removal and habitat loss for the endangered Swift Parrot, Lathamus discolor. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 145, 1-4.
Hingston AB, Piech M (2011) Eucalypt flower production in the suburbs and bush: implications for the endangered Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor. Pacific Conservation Biology 17, 338-346.
Hingston AB et al. (2004) How specialized is the plant-pollinator association between Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus and the swift parrot Lathamus discolor? Austral Ecology 29, 624-630.
Hingston AB et al. (2004) The swift parrot Lathamus discolor (Psittacidae), social bees (Apidae) and native insects as pollinators of Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus (Myrtaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 52, 371-379.
Catherine is a member of the Inala guiding team and brings with her a wealth scientific knowledge. As a PhD graduate in behavioural ecology (investigating the private lives of crimson finches), Catherine has over 12 years’ experience as a research biologist including two years with Save the Gouldian Fund and six years on the Australian Bird Study Association committee. Catherine’s research has enabled her to work on a variety of taxa and environments across the world from the UK and South Africa to Australia. Her work within Australia has taken her to the arid zone, seabird islands, the tropical north-west, Sydney, Melbourne and finally to Tasmania (back to the tropics and to Tassie again!).
Outside of guiding, Catherine assists with Tasmanian based research by the Australian National University, Macquarie University and the University of Canterbury (NZ). In addition to this she also holds an Honorary Research Associate position at the University of Tasmania, through which she is involved in a number of projects from Tasmanian devils and quolls to wedge-tailed eagles. This includes her own project, based out of Hobart, monitoring woodland birds and providing training opportunities for researchers.